Liveris to Step Down from DowDuPont in April
Andrew Liveris will step down as executive chairman of DowDuPont in April and resign from the board in July of this year. His departure will precede the planned split of the company, merged in September 2017, into separate firms for agriculture (Corteva Agriscience), materials (the new Dow) and specialty products (the new DuPont).
The 63-year-old chemical industry veteran will also retire as head of the materials company and will be succeeded by Jim Fitterling, currently chief operating officer. Jeff Fettig, DowDuPont’s co-lead independent director, will take over his position as non-employee executive chairman.
“Over the last 14 years, we have transformed Dow from a cyclical chemicals manufacturing company into one powered by science, driven by innovation and delivering solutions to the world. We have aggressively invested in R&D and radically transformed our portfolio of businesses while proudly maintaining our commitment to our heritage and values,” Liveris said in a statement. “With that transformation complete and Dow entering into its next phase of growth, now is the right time for me to effect my previously announced plan to transition and then to retire.
Along with his roles at Dow and DowDuPont, Liveris – a native of Australia – is on the board of IBM, a member and previous vice chair of the US Business Roundtable, an executive committee member and past chairman of the US Business Council as well as a member of the Concordia Leadership Council. He also holds numerous other honorary positions.
As Dow chief, Liveris is credited with being the driving force behind the creation of DowDuPont, which was seen widely as a response to activist investors. The hedge fund Third Point headed by Daniel Loeb had consistently called for a strategic realignment of Dow as well as for the resignation of its CEO. Nelson Peltz, who played a similar role at DuPont, micromanaged the ouster of former DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman.
Liveris himself was not uncontroversial during his 40-year tenure at Dow, often taking issue energetically with business and political trends he saw as negative. Early in the administration of US President Donald Trump, he appeared with the new US leader at rallies and agreed to head his US Manufacturing Council, which meanwhile has been disbanded. More recently, however, Liveris urged the president not to withdraw from the Paris Accord and expressed dissatisfaction with Trump’s plans for trade tariffs.